Japan is widely known as the center of all things retro, vintage, and quirky! Among all things, Japan is especially famous for being the home to many giants in the gaming industry. Japanese games dominated the international market back in the 80s and 90s. From Final Fantasy to Pokemon, Japan is undoubtedly home to some of the most iconic games out there!
Whether you’re a serious game collector or just someone looking for a little bit of nostalgia, Akihabara is definitely a must-see. This district in Tokyo is perfect for nerds and gamers as it houses huge stores dedicated to selling rare and vintage finds! Here in Akihabara, you’ll find retro video game shops at every corner. So log in, and let us tell you all about the best retro game stores in Akihabara!
1. Super Potato Akihabara
If you’re even a little bit interested in retro games, then you’ve definitely heard of Super Potato! This store has become famous internationally for being home to some of the coolest finds out there. It’s a true love letter to the video-gaming past and the beloved present. Here you can find vintage consoles and support systems as well as all the latest models.
With three floors, Super Potato houses everything you can think of when it comes to gaming: cartridges, stuffed animals of famous game characters, game guides, and more! Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, you should still check out Super Potato for their retro arcade. Relive the past as you play classic goodies like Street Fighter and more!
Exact Location: Super Potato Akihabara
2. Surugaya Specialty Store Akihabara
Unlike Super Potato, Surugaya is a little less well-known–but that doesn’t mean it’s any less great! In fact, we think it’s supremely underrated. With its vast collection of anything and everything under the otaku umbrella, you’ll definitely have a blast visiting this place. Surugaya houses literally thousands of plushies, toys, action figures, books, CDs, games, and more all in a single location.
They have an incredible collection of retro games. What’s more, they sell these at more affordable prices than other more popular stores! Have fun exploring the halls and finding rare Japan-only titles as well as pristine copies of vintage games and merch. Surugaya is practically bursting at the seams with its wide range of collectibles, so you definitely have to be eagle-eyed if you’re looking for something specific!
Exaction Location: Surugaya Specialty Store Akihabara
Another store you definitely have to check out is Friends. Though it’s smaller than some of the other stores here, that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive! Friends is chock-full of retro games and knickknacks all the way from your childhood. Walking through the halls is like taking a trip down memory lane as you spot video games and characters you probably haven’t seen in years.
From relics of the Famicom Era to 8-bit favorites and all the way to modern PC games, Friends has it all. If you’re swinging by this store, we definitely recommend checking out the game watches! These stealthy little consoles are perfect for entertaining yourself during your next boring meeting or class–just make sure you don’t get caught!
Exaction Location: Friends
4. BEEP Akihabara
BEEP is one of the most well-known video game stores in Akihabara for a reason. It’s the perfect place for all things retro! Aisles upon aisles of retro computer games that you can only find in Japan can be found right here at BEEP. It’s a true testament to Japanese gaming history, with neon hardware and rare vintage games all on display.
Not many other places in Tokyo exhibit old computers and hardware systems the way BEEP does. You can touch and even play on some of the old consoles on display! What’s more, plenty of their vintage stuff is kept in mint condition. You can find relics from the Japanese PC scene in the 1980s that look brand new!
Exaction Location: BEEP
You May Also Like: Best Anime Shops In Akihabara
5. Retro Game Camp
Retro Game Camp is heaven for gamers of all persuasions–especially Nintendo lovers! This store is truly a sight to behold. From retro to modern, they have just about every game and kind of console you can think of. What makes Retro Game Camp stand out from other game stores is their service. The staff meticulously checks each and every game to make sure it’s still operating, the batteries are in working order, and just overall in good condition. You won’t be wasting any money on junk retro games here!
We definitely recommend visiting the Akihabara store if you can. The aisles and aisles of retro collectibles will instantly put anyone in a good mood. But if you can’t, you can always order from their online retro game store. And the good news? They ship worldwide!
Exaction Location: Retro Game Camp
Like any hobby, collecting can get pretty expensive especially if you’re after those mint condition and rare collectibles. Luckily, there are stores like Trader that sell incredible finds at cheaper price points! Here you can score copies of beloved vintage games, consoles, accessories, and merch without breaking the bank.
Trader also has a huge selection that spans both old and new, both East and West. Aside from having games that can only be found in Japan, they also have a sizeable collection of rare retro games from the West. Fans of Sega would especially like Trader as they have a massive collection of Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast titles. There are also boxed copies of Game Boy Pokemon titles and even clean PlayStation cases sold for reasonable prices!
Exaction Location: Trader
7. Hard Off
Hard Off is one of the most popular used goods chains in the country. Each branch is different, but you’ll be sure to always find something rare at each Hard Off! Many of them also have massive selections of retro games with prices you won’t find anywhere else. Hard Off stores are especially famous for having “junk corners” where patrons can buy rare vintage games for as low as ¥100 (~$0.70)!
Tokyo retro game fans make it a habit to pop into a nearby Hard Off to see what the newest selections are. Each shop cycles out its stock pretty frequently so you can always expect to find something new with every visit. The fun of visiting a Hard Off branch is wandering through the aisles without anything specific in mind, just getting lost in the nostalgia of the past!
Exaction Location: Hard Off Akihabara
8. Book Off
Up next we have Hard Off’s sister store, Book Off! Like Hard Off, Book Off is a famous chain catering to secondhand goods. It primarily features books from every decade and genre, but there are also plenty of other retro goodies to satisfy every collector! The Akihabara branch may seem small and unimposing, but it hides a selection of retro games at unbelievably cheap price points.
Book Off has baskets upon baskets of game cartridges that you can dig through. From Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy, and more, Book Off has it all! Book Off also has a large selection of vintage manga titles that you should definitely check out. It’s a certified haven for retro lovers everywhere!
Exaction Location: Book Off Akihabara
You May Also Like: The 15 Best Anime Merchandise Shops In Tokyo
9. Mandarake Complex
And finally, we have Akihabara’s own Mandarake Complex. With eight floors, Mandarake Complex quite literally towers over most of the other retro game stores you can find in the city. It’s a true vintage wonderland offering incredible selections of secondhand manga, collectible figurines, retro games, consoles, accessories, and more!
While it can get a bit overwhelming to explore this gigantic place, don’t worry; it’s actually very neatly organized! Each floor caters to its own theme and dedicated fanbase, so you can definitely find your way depending on what you’re looking for. For example, the 6th floor only has cool DVDs, CDs, and games while the 7th and 8th floors specialize in collectible action figures and game cards. Walking through each floor is like traveling back to the 80s and 90s and if for nothing else, it’s definitely worth it to go to Mandarake Complex just to marvel at their selections!
Exaction Location: Mandarake Akihabara
We hope you liked our take on the best retro game stores you can find in Tokyo’s retro capital: Akihabara! Which store are you most excited to visit? Tell us in the comment section!
Whether you are young or young at heart, there’s something so heartwarming and satisfying about visiting retro shops like these. It reminds us of better days spent simply trying to defeat the boss villain or getting over a particularly difficult game level. We say give in to that nostalgia factor every once in a while and honor your inner child!